Review: Hessle Audio's emergence from hibernation in 2012 really has seen the label release some of the most extraordinary music of its life, and this EP from Bandshell might top the lot. Tapping into the grainy, murky sound world of the like of STL, Shed and Actress, this record explores strange rhythms constantly on the verge of breaking out into a frenzy. The title track is comprised of little more than rattling percussion and dense, fizzy bass, while "Rise 'Em" places a jungle breakbeat atop a mucky hum. On the flip, "Metzger" takes the vibe of classic dubstep and fills it with subtle melodies and clipped snares, but "Dog Sweater" is the real killer - a homage to soundsystem culture whose threadbare rhythms are the only thing to stop you being dragged into the track's viscous centre. Make no mistake, this is a serious new talent.
Review: It's time to step into the Bristol shadows with Sector 7 once again as label co-runner Boofy invites Young Echo to the fray for two instrumental grime / dub hybrids. "Roll The Dice" pelvises with its dense subs and shimmering atmospheric textures while shattering trap snare roll and a mystic melody and skippy drum arrangement flicker in and out of the foreground. "Cane Sword" is a little more on the pure grime tip with some superb drum momentum, breathless atmospheres and cool samples that skid to a halt when you least expect them. Roll again...
Review: Dropping a searing double pack of 10" badness ahead of the forthcoming Angels & Devils album, The Bug is back in business with some apocalyptic gutter bass of the highest order. "Freakshow" matches the leering delivery of Danny Brown with the sinister croon of King Midas Sound's Kiki Hitomi over a horn-laden trap swagger to devastating effect. "Louder" pits Flowdan in the depths of a nauseating half-step march, while "Dirty" takes the London MC into a barrage of equally nerve-jangling drum rattles and alarm-clanging stabs. Long-time Bug collaborator Daddy Freddy rolls up his sleeves for "Kill Them", anchoring the dread stomp with a fearsome growl as anthemic as it is nihilistic.
Review: Aside from having a stellar catalogue of releases that span from labels like Reflex to Hyperdub, Kevin Martin's The Bug project has been a foundational pillar of the UK dubstep and bass scene. if there has always been one producer to take things one step further and challenge the dance with each new tune, it's most certainly this producer. No wonder he's been releasing music on Ninja Tune for ages, and that he's back on the label now with this new EP. "Box" features revered grime MC D Double E on the mic, and the collaboration between the two results in utter carnage, a visceral grime banger backed by The Bug's twisted concoctions of beats and bass; check the instrumental, too. "Iceman" is a similar sort of curbside killer, this time with Riko Dan on the vocals, and followed by that gnarly instrumental cut...oof!
Review: The Dream Eater crew have got the munchies again and it's another all-star feast featuring some of the label's most forward-thinking beat splicers. Teetering on the trippiest peripheries of instrumental grime, highlights include the seasick rolling breaks and disassociated humanised twangs of Kotei's "BUN", BThorough's vital rainbow-razzled pipe blaster "Flutter" and Filthy Gears' monstrous trappist drama slammer "Peace Treaty". Happy nightmares.
Review: Deep grime instrumentals; few labels are doing it like Oil Gang. The clue's in the title - the tight-knit London crew are dealing strictly in sinister, seeping, dark, slick sounds. This one's even darker than usual as Spooky drops the aggro and goes straight in with the deep dagger dynamics. All stealth-like and creepy, "Low Rider" isn't a track you want on your headphones walking home through the wrong postcode at night. Boylan ups the energy with a stampier twist the rhythm and a dramatic riff croaking from the humanized bass tones. Badness.
Review: Having first collaborated on Oil Gang two years ago, Trends & Boylan have developed a heavyweight reputation across the 140 territories and here they take things to a whole new level with their debut album Bedlam. The title says it all; fork-tongued grime, savage beats and a rollcall of MC titans. From the previous Riko-fronted single "Kreuger" to the neck snap two step of "Crack Ya Back" and the absolute gutter operatics of "The Eye", the whole 12 track trip swathes through the grime / dubstep axis with menace and confidence. Time to cause some bedlam.